I pick up my pencil and stare at the blank page of notebook paper. There is so much to write, but I cannot find the words. A deep blue sky hovers over me, warm breezes tickle my skin, and I glance around from my perch in the old oak tree. For a moment I let the moment just suck me in, pull me apart, and fill me with wonder. Then I turn my notebook over and flip through the pages scrawled with smudged lead. One page is illegible, stained with tears. Another is half torn where I ripped out the writing I could not bear to erase or keep. This is my journey. A sigh expands my chest and I try to catch it and stuff it back. It won’t let me. When it escapes, a part of me does too. This notebook, this story…this is me. It stares back at me, reminding me of all the days I spent alone. I set my jaw and flip the notebook over again, smooth out the clean, fresh page, and lift my pencil. Today is different. Today is sweet and beautiful. The only tears I could shed are those of joy. I want to write something new. Words slide through my mind and I scrawl against the ledger lines, watch the swirls and curls of my letters form against the indigo line.
*For so many years I was alone. I felt abandoned, forgotten, and helpless to stop it.
What could I do in the face of such hopelessness? There was no escape.
I was trapped and no one was there to sever my chains.*
I don’t want it to start so sad. But it has to. How can you explain the depth of joy when you cannot feel the cavernous pain? But I know where it is going. I look up and watch the sun break from behind a puffy cloud. Sparkling rays dance on the paper, on the green leaves, through the shimmering air, over the rustling prairie grass. Memories flood me.
*I held my heart in my own hand. It was broken, crushed by an aged care, and I was too afraid to let it go, too afraid it could never be fixed. I could not do it.
When I clutched it, I could control my heart. I was bound to it and the rulings it kept and needed. But no one could have it. And no one could fix it.
Weary time crept by and sharp edges wore down.
Fear filled me. Fear that I would never be made whole. Fear of letting go to be healed.
As the days passed, I began to see there was more out there than loss. There was more than brokenness and despair.
A Healer was knocking at my door, if only I would let Him in and listen to His words.
I fought the urge to let go, to give up the grip on my heart to Him. I wanted the control, to feel safe in my own power.
But I had no strength. I had nothing.*
Tears sting my eyes when I think of the days I wasted, longing for something I already had. How long was He knocking and I didn’t hear Him? Why did I never see it was there all along? Thankfulness for Him fills me. An unconscious smile creeps up on my lips and a sweet sensation fills my belly. Now to write the best part of all!
*I didn’t know how to answer to His call. I couldn’t tell what I wanted. Freedom was the only light that shone in my eyes, but it was so very distant.
Slowly, so very slowly, I loosed my fingers and reached toward it. I let Him take my hand and lead me away from my shattered heart.
I limped at first, but He held me up, half carrying me. The more steps I took, the easier it became to walk.
The light filled me with renewed strength. I began to run, to bathe in the splendor of it.
And suddenly, I realized I was no longer in any darkness. There was no heaviness weighing me down and no pain deep in my chest.
His hands left mine, just for a moment, just to lift something up to me.
Something beautiful, untouched, whole. A new heart.
Love cascaded over me. I felt new life filling me, giving me hope of a purpose and a future. There was no shame left, no guilt, and no pain.*
Tears run down my cheeks. I wipe them away, afraid they will mar this page like the one from long ago. I don’t want it to be ruined. It is to be treasured and kept forever, a keepsake, to remind me of all the things He has done for me. I can’t forget.
*A friend found me. She was sweet, wonderful; her words were full of love and beauty. She spoke of Him, and of glory and goodness.
And she loved me. For me, who I am and what I am.
She didn’t run away from the things deep inside of me. She cherished them.*
I could spend pages writing about my friend. About how she renewed me each day with her smile and acceptance. I could write about the others, friends who call me by name and seek me because they want me. There is so much goodness to write about, blessings from Him. I lean back into the trunk of the oak tree and feel its rough bark scrape against my skin. The wind blows my hair across my face so I tuck it behind my ears. How can I write the next part? My heart sings with joy when I think of how He rescued me, how He brought me back from death. Can I ever put it into words? Looking out across the golden fields, into the tree-studded horizon, at the clumps of forest, I see the beauty of the world and wonder why I never noticed before.
*Awakening from the darkness let me see how blinded I was to the light that had been shining for me all along. I was never alone. Never left behind.
He was always standing there, ready to show me His power and love. He was just waiting for me to want Him. He wanted me to need Him.
It is only when you need rescuing that the knight is suddenly wearing shining armor.
And now? Now I can stand tall. I have love at my side. Joy in my heart. Peace with my soul.
I am glad to be alive. It will be a journey.
I am here to live it.*
I let my pencil fall to the page. It is not perfect. It never will be. Maybe through the years I will tweak it and change it. I will learn new lessons and understand old ones better. Perhaps I’ll even find a better spot to write. But for now, I am content. I drop out of the tree to the grass below. My bare toes sink into the soft ground, relishing the freedom. Throwing my head up to the sky, I close my eyes and let the wind whisper across my face. Warmth from the sun flows through me. Yes, it is good to be alive.